Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says he's preparing for the most "important and life-changing" series he's ever taught, which will focus on God's mercy, as he reflects on the darkest day of his life nearly three years ago when his 27-year-old son took his own life.
"Easter has become particularly personal and poignant to me in the past three years, because five days after Easter three years ago, my 27-year-old son ended his own life," Warren said in a video posted on Facebook Sunday, talking about his son, Matthew.
"He had battled mental illness since childhood, and despite all the best doctors and the best medicine, therapy, and prayers, and love, he lost his battle for hope on Easter week. And Our family was devastated. The day Matthew gave into despair was the worst day of my life," the pastor added. more >>
Jordan Smith, "The Voice" season 9 winner, was on hand Tuesday evening at Saddleback Church's Lake Forest campus to kick-off its Christmas season services.
Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren tweeted the news to followers Monday. "Tomorrow 6:00pm #JordanSmith winner of #TheVoice will be kicking off our Christmas services with us. Be there!"
Smith, a vocal Christian who attends the evangelical Lee University in Tennessee, lent his dynamic voice and mastery of the Christmas music genre to the service. The 21-year-old is no stranger to Christmas tunes. His versions of holiday songs have been wildly popular — his cover of "Mary, Did You Know" topped the Digital Songs chart with 161,000 downloads sold during the week ending Dec. 17, according to a report by Billboard. more >>
Each year during the Christmas season people may feel pressure to do things bigger and better than before — more gifts, more decorations, more parties — keeping them busy, overburdened and missing the true meaning of Christmas. This holiday season, Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren shares in a column posted on pastors.com three simple concepts to help Christians stay focused on what's really important. Below is a summary of the column.
1. Keep it Simple
You don't have to spend your holiday participating in grand, impersonal, events and activities in order to feel fulfilled. Rather, Pastor Warren encourages Christians to engage in activities that enable personal interaction and service, such as feeding the hungry, or providing support for needy single parents. Personal interaction has been key for Saddleback's 20,000 members. " … We've found that the larger we grow, the smaller we must become," says Warren. more >>
Fresh off the successful evacuation of 149 Iraqi Christian refugees to Slovakia last week, faith leader Johnnie Moore addressed Saddleback Church Sunday with a message that put the enormity of the Middle East refugee crisis into perspective for American churches, and explained the extent to which terrorists have destroyed the cradle of Christianity.
"The world we're living in is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since WWII," Moore told the congregation of Saddleback Church. "Sixty million refugees are displaced people in our world right now — 12 million alone affected by the Syrian crisis."
Moore explained that, unlike refugees of other countries, Syrian refugees had a lot in common with Americans. "Syria was not unlike our own country. It was a middle class country. … These people were like us, they weren't poor people. … They were middle class people, they were people like you and I. … Their kids were in college, they had cars ... they had two-story houses, they had regular, every day normal lives like we have." more >>
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren has shared a "hard message" with followers, telling them that many Christians do not love the church.
"Too many Christians use the church, but don't love it. This is a hard message for many of us to hear," Warren said Wednesday on his Facebook page.
"We've been deeply hurt by members of the church, we've been disappointed, we can be discouraged. But the Church is the bride of Christ. It's the hope of the world, the vessel through which God works out his plan. We have to learn to love the church," he continued. more >>
It's a message you've likely heard during some point in your childhood. Probably more times than you can remember, you've been told to "say thank you," or to "be grateful."
As an adult, you know that having an attitude of gratitude and thanks is a good thing, but how do you take it beyond a simple platitude and make it a daily way of life? Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren spells it all out in a sermon he delivered last week entitled: "Living Life as a Thank You Gift to God."
"If you live your entire life as a thanksgiving gift or a thank you gift back to God — for all the things he's done for you — it's going to increase your happiness in life," Warren says. more >>